As my former students create a documentary about school budgets/reform. They are honestly so talented and bright, I’m excited to see what the future holds for them.
My Religion and Sports TA commented on my paper that with a slight revisions this should be sent into a magazine or to sports columnist, Christine Brennan. Go figure…
Paper #3: Do sports reinforce gender stereotypes/boundaries? OR do sports break down gender stereotypes/boundaries? Why/How?
Sport Gendering Construction and Gradual Movement
In the fifth grade, I arrived at gym class in Head O’ Meadow Elementary School with my glove and a 12-inch, neon yellow softball. Coach Steve, one of the gym teachers, offered to catch for me since I wanted to practice pitching as it was supposed to rain that afternoon. He didn’t expect a rising 11-year old to throw as hard as I did and he was clearly impressed with the skills I had shown at a young age. Unfortunately, he was the only male in the room that praised my aggressive approach to the game. “She can only throw that hard if she’s really a boy!” one classmate yelled. “Why is she throwing like that?” another boy criticized in relation to the windmill motion that softball calls for, “If she were really someone who could play she’d throw like us, not like some stupid girl.” Needless to say, the boys in my class didn’t welcome the fact that girls played sports, or in this case could throw a ball harder and farther than they could. This was my first personal experience with sports being gendered and women being looked down upon for playing a sport, recreationaly or competitively.
As I got older, the presence of sports being gendered surrounded me. For the most part, my involvement in sports was accepted. Many of my male friends would encourage me to play in pick up games of basketball, take me along running- a time where I thought running was fun- around our neighborhood, and of course, throw around the baseball or softball. However there were always the stereotypes that would whip around and slap me in the face just because I was a girl who liked to throw the ball around and run around a softball diamond: you’re into girls if you’re playing sports, you’re a lesbian, girls can’t hit a ball like that, maybe you can hit but you just lob the ball in there like a meatball. Needless to say, I was always fired up to defend my sport whenever it was contested; compared to baseball, we now hit from 43 feet away with a ball that can spin and break in a variety of directions and comes at you between 60-70 mph, meaning you need a quicker reaction speed and a sharp set of eyes to decide when to swing. Not so easy then, is it? That usually shut the boys up for the day. It confused me as to why even in the 2000s women in sports were still brushed off the shoulders of the sports society while men soaked up all the glory. What I have come to find in a short 21 years is that even in 2013, stereotypes and stigmas are still attached and reinforced as women participate in athletics, however as participation gradually increases sports will also help break this action of the competition being gendered and stereotypes to circulate.
As sports are played, recreationaly or through high school or college competition, they are now open to both men and women, thanks in large part to Title IX, preaching that no person in the United States it to be excluded from taking part in play due to their sex. Quite obviously, many female athletes and myself have benefited from this act since its launch 40 years ago. Unfortunately, there are still poor sentiments attached to women’s athletics, similar to what I have experienced when I was younger. Stereotypes contesting a female’s sexuality and continuing to comment on their physical appearance or assertive demeanor toward the sport are external factor negatively oppressing women in sports. A great example of stereotypes placed upon women in sports is in the film A League of Their Own (1992; dir Penny Marshall). The movie depicts the decision to continue the operation of baseball while men are off fighting in World War II by having women play in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and shows them playing in many games, the publicity of women in the sport via newspapers, radio, and Time Magazine headlines, and of course the induction of them into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. In many of the beginning scenes of the movie, we are shown of the athletic abilities of the women trying out to make one of the teams, many of them who are very skilled. In an example in the season opener, the girls are on the field warming up and a rowdy male attendant gets on top of the dug out, rolls up his pants and begins to mock the players: “Girls can’t play ball! Look at me, I’m a ball player, I’m a ball player! I might break a nail!” In response to the stereotypes and rude comments yelled, the shortstop for the team nails the fan with a baseball, showing her distaste. Though the women are given the opportunity to play on the field for a larger audience than they’re used to, the stereotypes are still preached out from the audience, further oppressing women participating
Boundaries of women in sports- in this case, baseball-are also shown in the film while the participants are told of the league expectations before they go off with their respective teams. After the girls are assigned to their teams, they are shown that the uniforms will not be what they are used to playing in, such as loose fitting shirts and long pants to protect their legs, but instead belted skirts with “spanky” shorts. The women have further restrictions placed on them when they are told there’s no smoking, drinking, or men allowed in the league since every ball player there will be presentable and a “lady”. By the league advisers slating their attire to play in, the women feel limited in movement because of the skirt uniform and share anger stating, “That’s a dress!” “I’m not playing in that!” The outfits also place boundaries on them to perform at their highest potential. Of course the most famous limitation told to female players of The Rockford Peaches by their coach, Jimmy Dugan is that there is no crying in baseball. Dugan heavily reprimands his outfielder for throwing to the wrong cutoff man in the game and as she begins to sob, we hear him continue to scold, “Are you crying? There’s no crying! There’s no crying in baseball!” and later telling the umpire, “I don’t have ball players I have girls!” showing that though he is supposed to mentor and manage this group of women to play competitive ball, he limits the expectations of them and restricts them from showing emotion while playing. Dugan limiting the emotions also allows the stereotype that women in sports are inclined to be more emotional than men would be, further providing him with more of an initiative to shut down his player.
To shy away from a media representation, a current limitation seen in sports played today is with regulations and equipment used. An example seen would be with lacrosse. In terms of attire, men are to wear upper body pads under their jerseys for protection and masks with a full helmet while women wear racer back jerseys and a set of goggles. With these differences in equipment and protection, it implies that women play with not as much physical contact as men do, further limiting the skills and forcefulness they can potentially show on the field. Placing women in a tight-fitting racer back jersey while men wear slightly baggy pinnies also is spreading a stereotype that though women want to play with the boys that they still want to look “fashionable” or “cute” while doing so, displaying another visible limitation to the game.
Phillip Arnold’s response took me by surprise as he stated, “women’s athletic gifts have been expressed in sports more than ever. With the expression of these gifts, all sports have been improved the more female contributions have been recognized.” (Arnold, 95) Much to the dismay of naysayers, it seems that Arnold is a full supporter of Title IX and considers women athletics and competition valuable. While reading of Arnold’s critique of athletics being improved because of female involvement and though the many boundaries and stereotypes listed previously may exist today attaching a stigma to women in sports, those borders are still shifting and being broken today. Title IX as mentioned earlier is helping in this limitation breaking process as women are having more opportunities created for them in the sports world. Women have been given the opportunity to play not only in high school or college but also in respective professional leagues in the United States as well as around the world. Another way women are shaking up these boundaries and stereotypes are through media presentation. ESPN, ESPNU, and ESPN2 in the past few years have been playing more and more women’s sports matches, selective at first only playing tournaments for cheerleading and dance team nationals, but now are playing more regular season matches for sports such as softball and lacrosse, easily adding an audience to the sport. Women sport analysts are also serving break these boundaries. We’re so used to men calling and announcing games however today when watching college softball, majority of those announcers are women who are breaking the stereotype that women don’t know anything about sports or the sport psyche.
Back to our examples in A League of Their Own: obviously we see women breaking stereotypes and limitations throughout the entire movie. Women playing baseball for a larger audience and having games announced and publicized was uncharted territory at the time. Bringing attention to these women playing with amazing skill, bruises and a multitude of other injuries are essentially ways that kept the league going post-war. After traveling with Dottie through her flashback to the 1940’s this later lead us to the end where the women of the first teams were reunited to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The women in this film certainly broke boundaries by participating in the league and paving way for others down the road to play through their dedication to the sport and it was certainly recognized through the film as well as the exhibit.
Stereotypes will always exist. Assumptions and limitations will always exist. However as time moves on stereotypes and restrictions of women in sports will be minimized, it is just gradual movement to endure and equal playing field in relation to sports. Women are still fighting in sports, not necessarily anymore for the chance to play, but to be taken seriously. Though boundaries are still present from the past due to women wishing to participate in sports, these boundaries are continuously being broken as women continue to participate and share their gift with the sports audience.
High School teachers say- Yes!
Professors say- No…
Taking time from the 4 papers I have to do to write:
As a Newtown resident, its been four long months since I first heard of what was happening 10 minutes down the road from my house. Since then I’ve dealt with grieving not only around my town but with those out of state, people feeling sorry…
From my personal blog to my teacher one.
I’ve heard people say that the tidal wave of anguish our country felt on Dec. 14 has receded, but not for us. To us, it feels like it happened just yesterday.
—Francine Wheeler, mother of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Benjamin Wheeler, Newtown mother: Don’t let our tragedy become your tragedy (via msnbc)
Spectacular quote about people, humanity and the government from the writer of the graphic novel Persepolis and director of the film with the same name. If you haven’t read/seen it - I can’t recommend it enough.
Human beings are the only species with a history. Whether they also have a future is not so obvious. The answer will lie in the prospects for popular movements, with firm roots among all sectors of the population, dedicated to values that are suppressed or driven to the margins within the existing social and political order: community, solidarity, concern for a fragile environment that will have to sustain future generations, creative work under voluntary control, independent thought, and true democratic participation in varied aspects of life.
—Necessary Illusions - Noam Chomsky (via noam-chomsky)
It always makes me wonder: We’re told that not all students benefit from testing or certain test taking procedures. That it may not be the best way to measure students’ success and how well they grasp material. Right?
So how are pre-service/aspiring teachers evaluated and certified?
4 to 41/2 hours of testing per test- my case, the LAST, CST-English, and ATS-W Secondary- 80-90 multiple choice questions where you choose the answer that fits best and a written essay between 300-600 words stating all points in the written request above.
The world of Pearson, I suppose…
For speaking your mind and taking a stand. When you asked me if I was sure I wanted to get into this-teaching- I was genuinely scared. However I pushed myself through my 12 or 13 weeks and you were there for each friendly “hello” and “see you later”. Thank you for sharing what’s really going on in education today.
Wish I could just take the entire week off to read.